Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords Never Quite Rises Above Being A Tepid Slog
Risen 3 Titan Lords is the third game in the Risen series. A series known for being infamously bad, albeit enjoyable. How does the third game weigh up to other RPGs on the gaming landscape?
- Worth The Time?Unfortunately and quite sadly, no.
- Things LovedDecent visuals; good soundtrack; large world to traverse. Flying around as a parrot deserves special mention.
- Things HatedFrustrating combat; navigational problems; inconsistent voice acting; graphical glitches; limited use of spells; confusing quest system.
- RecommendationRisen 3: Titan Lords is difficult to recommend, but if you've enjoyed the bizarre logic with regards to game design, give this one a try, but preferably at a reduced price.
- Name: Risen 3: Titan Lords
- Genre: Role Playing Game
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: PC, Xbox 360 and PS3
- Developer: Piranha Bytes
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Price: PC: R499; Xbox and PS3: R699
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
How many quests have we as gamers undertaken in role-playing games provided to us by non-player characters whose feet supposedly seem to be cemented into the terrain they so adore standing on? We pursue so many required objects and pursue the last known location of so many missing people that by the end of our lives, we’ve been more heroic than most movie stars with the ability to wring around someone’s neck by sheer clenching of the posterior. RPG’s more often than not provide players with a mountainous world to explore and lots of quests to undertake; be they fetch quests or simple go to that place and kill everything inspired in their execution, it always has some charm to it when leveling up and making your playable character stronger than Zeus tackling the monster that is the petrol price, no matter how frivolous or nonsensical the aforementioned quests may be.
However, with Risen 3: Titan Lords I have to forget about all that. Why? Quite simply because it is a game with anarchic and disordered gameplay design choices and while that in itself is merely one way of describing it, it sadly is more of a chore to play the game than anything else.
The previous Risen games had a rather infamous quality of being bad, but enjoyable all the same – Risen 3, however, does little to refresh or improve upon previous titles.
Following the events of Risen 2: Dark Waters, our story begins on the open seas aboard a ship being attacked by a group of baddies. After swiftly ridding the ship of this threat, our hero makes his way to dry land in pursuit of treasure, being a pirate and all. Events swiftly take a turn for the worst after a seemingly promising trail and our hero finds himself six feet under the ground. It may seem like a spoiler and quite Game of Thrones in nature, but this is right at the beginning and the story continues with a hero that is more or less intact. He is alive once more, thanks to a future quest provider who appears to have more than one voice actor depending on the dialogue branch you’ve selected, but missing his soul amongst the darkness that has arisen. He must take pursuit in reclaiming his soul and find his missing crew, which at first sounds like a promising plot alongside dream sequences with a rather eerie feel to it, that I quite like. However, as you venture further and spend many hours prancing around the world in pursuit of a quest marker that sometimes disappear all together, you start to feel a sense of growing frustration.
I wish that navigation was all I had a problem with in this game, but sadly that is not the case. Not before long, you’ll have a bunch of quests to choose from and I, personally, like the idea of having multiple choices with regards to where I am able to go from the get-go, but the quest / logbook interface leaves a lot to be desired. There is no indication as to which quests are main story quests and side quests. These quests later divide or branch into more quests, leaving the player feeling lost when they’ve traveled and actually figured out where to go next when encountering ridiculously strong enemies – not to mention the dead ends one may only access once you’ve progressed far enough into the story. How do you know you’ve gained access to these previously mentioned areas? I wish I could tell you.
The game’s combat system is frustrating and even punishing to say the least and while I certainly am able to look past navigational quibbles and graphical shortcomings; gameplay needs to be fun and responsive to begin with. I use the word: “frustrating” not lightly. I have no problem with a game being challenging. Many other games out there manages to be challenging which constantly keeps you on your toes and still end up fun at the same time. The reason for this is that you still feel able even though the odds are against you. You still feel able despite the bloodthirsty horde descending on your underdeveloped rear end. You are able to dodge and block attacks, but almost all enemies attack multiple times in succession without enabling you a chance to return the favour. After a while your block is negated and you’ve been bitten three times in a row by an overgrown spider before being able to dodge or roll away.
As you grow stronger and gain better equipment, this becomes less of an issue, but I’m afraid to say that it is too late to drown out the voices at that point in time. Scattered throughout the environment you will find spells/magical abilities which are useful for both combat and exploration, but they are limited to a number of use instead of a cool down period or a depleting manna pool. The game had me sold at the beginning as I was enabled to fly around as a parrot, but even that spell is severely limited as you can only ascend for a limited amount before you descend back down without having a change to explore more. If that spell was not limited in such a way and enabled you to scout ahead at any given time, it would’ve been much more enjoyable.
The game’s visuals are decent and quite pretty at times. I’ve seen the visuals on PC and it does look much better than the Xbox 360 version I’ve played. It does lend the world a certain feeling that I like, but unfortunately there were several graphical glitches and texture problems throughout. I quite liked the soundtrack and it is probably the only element in the game I do not have a problem with. A few more ambient tracks while exploring or fighting would’ve definitely improved the overall game as well.
Risen 3 might not be a bad game by any means but aside from the soundtrack there is little to no reason to pick it up.